Issues for Foreign Students

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Today is 09/11/2019—-18 years from that fatal day when students crashed their planes into the Wall Street Center. This blog will deal with issues that now occurs, under the Trump administration. In context I would like to point out that Trump Administration under the guidance of Stephen Miller is actually pursuing a policy of hatred rather than one of rationality and thus many of these issues have no logic behind them.
The number of students coming to the US has dropped precipitously and there are denials galore, way more than denials during the 09/11 days. This blog explores the general state of Student Visas issues. Note: Students from China and the Middle East face increased scrutiny. Also F-2 spouse and child are denied visas if the consulate believe that they will work illegally. This creates additional hardships on students.
There are some MUST do caveats for STUDENTS on F-1 visas. They are:
1. Check with the DSO and keep your Sevis alive at all times, including during the OPT stage and until you get the H-1B visa.
2. If your F visa is taking long, check with the DSO and ask them to defer admission if visa is not obtained on time. This might be a problem especially for graduate studies where semester begins in the fall only. But keep Sevis alive no matter the cost.
3. After you get the visa, please take actual courses, FULL TIME in the campus. Please go to class.
4. Take out health insurance. If you have any health concerns or you have a baby on taxpayer’s money you will have a problem with Adjustment of Status later
5. Do NOT get into any criminal activities, including drugs. Do NOT drink and drive.
6. Do not accept side cash business, like driving uber, or working for anything with cash. You may however continue to do any internet based business you might have in your home country and get paid in your home country.
7. Do not post any political messages on social media. This will not prohibit you from getting a visa, but it might delay the application in an atmosphere where most applications are delayed or denied

Common reasons for Students to lose F status:
• Dropping below full load
• Dropping out of school
• Working without authorization
• Transferring without proper sevis requirement
• Unemployment or inappropriate work on CPT or OPT

Converting to Student Visa from Visitor’s Visa—–This is not advisable anymore.
• First you have to stay for 90 days before you can apply;
• Second they have an extremely high rate of denial.
• And third, if you ever go out of the country for any reason the consulates are not giving visas anymore. So you are virtually imprisoned here in the US.

For OPT:
• For Stem OPT—-Please note that the I-983 needs to have a detailed plan. Contact your DSO every six months. Note that there are site visits to your place of employment these days, so have the employer go through the plan and implement it
• DO NOT travel on CAP GAP

CPT is not very well regulated now, but regulations are coming in. CPT creates a lot of problems for any future benefits including H-1B and potentially Adjustment of Status
• Students need to attend school physically.
• If CPT optional it Work HAS to be for credit. If required—has to be required for ALL students
• Work has to have academic oversight
• The CPT work has to be directly related to their major and integral to the program of study. This is problematic especially with business administration—where a person can work in the field of Software or Engineering this can prove extremely difficult to justify. Foir a general MBA-unless you work for a Business Consulting Company that does business related work only, you will be denied a subsequent H-1B. However, if the course you are studying has to do with ONLY Software business Admin (like MIS) or Engineering Business, only then can you work with a software or Engineering Company. But these industries will NOT work for a general business degree.
• CPT has to be on a higher level than their last degree. If you have a Master’s, the CPT generally needs to be a PhD
• CPT will be different for each school.
• Be especially careful of Day one CPT. These will most probably not allow you to maintain status

For more information visit Banerjee&Associates